Misled Surveyor Still Liable


In a period of rising repossessions, when aspects of the professional work relating to repossessed properties can be expected to come under close scrutiny, a recent judgment could have implications for property professionals.

The case involved a surveyor, who was asked to produce a valuation for mortgage purposes of a house that was in the course of being built. The surveyor’s client misled him into surveying a house that was not the one on which the mortgage was being sought. 
Later, the client defaulted on the mortgage. When the lender repossessed the house, the error was discovered. The property the surveyor had valued was worth significantly more than the one he should have surveyed, with the result that the bank faced a loss of £30,000.
The bank sued the surveyor, alleging that he had not carried out the valuation with reasonable skill and care, because he had not taken sufficient steps to ensure he surveyed the right property. There was no issue over the quality of the survey itself. The case went as far as the Court of Appeal and the bank won. The Court rejected the argument that the surveyor had discharged his work with due skill and care and that the issue had arisen because he had been misled.
In similar circumstances, therefore, it appears that surveyors (and their professional indemnity insurers) will find it difficult to place a limit on their responsibility with regard to fundamental aspects of their work.
Partner Note
Platform Funding Ltd. v Bank of Scotland plc [2008] EWCA Civ 930.

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